Gordon, Angela paint Camden Town red

U.K. — In Jan­u­ary, 2009, I wound up my annual trip to Lon­don to visit my mother with din­ner at Gor­don Ramsay’s newest restau­rant York & Albany located at 127–129 Park­way in my favourite neigh­bor­hood, Cam­den Town.
After lack-lustre meals at long­stand­ing veg­e­tar­ian eatery Manna — bland fare that cried out for sea­son­ing and meat — and the newish Mar­ket — bland mod­ern British fare that cried out for salt and oomph — it was a god­send to dis­cover a place in this trendy, gritty part of the city that had all the ele­ments needed for a won­drous meal out.
Our wel­come by man­ager and host­ess was warm. The ambi­ence in the down­stairs din­ing room (I highly rec­om­mend request­ing this rather than the much nois­ier room upstairs) was womb-like with red tapes­try walls, red vel­vet chairs and cur­tains, and red table-coverings under glass that exuded a retro cozi­ness aptly described by one British reviewer as “early bor­dello.“
But it’s the food that takes the cake.
Ramsay’s part­ner and chief pro­tege Angela Hart­nett is in charge of the open kitchen, also down­stairs.
She and her team have mas­tered the tricky task of cre­at­ing food that’s packed with taste and tex­ture, is unpre­ten­tious but imag­i­na­tive, and is rea­son­ably priced.
A starter of Pump­kin Risotto laced with melted gor­gonzola is sub­lime. Like­wise for entrees Roast Chicken with Bread Sauce and Sea Bream with Shrimp and Cucum­bery But­ter Sauce.
But the high point of our din­ner was Rice Pud­ding with Prune and Arma­gnac Com­pote: a divine con­fec­tion served warm that melded, sweet, smooth, tangy and tart in what is pos­si­bly the best dessert I’ve eaten.

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